Ellen Ramsey
Contemporary Tapestry

What’s on the Loom?

My current project is a ‘baby step’ out of the box, for me.  I am still working with my lotus pond source material, but I am doing several things, both design wise and technique wise, that I have never done before. I am about half-way done on this project and I am having fun with it.

1. Multiple pieces make up the whole.  Hardly radical, but still, something I’ve never done. Here is the design:

The design was created with manipulated photos in Photoshop and printed at scale. The reflection is the mylar overlay I’ve used to create my cartoon.

2. The whole is not a rectangle. I loved these cropped strips of lotus stems crossing and reflecting in the pond. The length of the strips vary to make the shape of a kimono. Still a traditional composition, especially for fiber art. Nothing new here.

Here is the cartoon. I use mylar so I can easily reverse the image and weave it from the back. I learned this trick from James Kohler.

3. The warp is a design element. Exposed warps will span the spaces between the strips, so I am using black cotton warp instead of natural cotton.  This is the baby step in a different direction. It seems like everywhere I look on social media it is all about warp these days. 

I’ve been warned about black warp, but I’m nothing if not stubborn. So far the only thing I don’t like about black warp is that I can’t mark on it.

4. I am using multiple setts. Some elements will be woven at 8 epi and some at 4 epi.

The header. The warp is 12/6 so 8 epi is 16 ends doubled. I couldn’t find black warp that was 12/12.

Here is what it looks like in process:

The first two of seven total strips. I’m weaving them sideways.

There is not a whole lot I love more than black and white, white on white, and black on black. And diagonals - I dig diagonals. It all boils down to contrast and energy.

I’m loving the texture. There is rayon chenille in the weft bundle. That makes the chunky stuff sparkle just a bit. It also adds an element of irregularity.  My goal is to make this piece more abstract and “weaverly” than my past work.  It is still traditional in so many ways, but I hope in the end that it will have an appealing edge to it.  We shall see!

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